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Scots lay claim to chess set

A row over the world's mostexpensive chess set is at stalemate, with Scottish islanders refusing to return it to the British Museum amid accusations of "cultural colonialism".

The 840-year-old Lewis Chessmen - 67 pieces carved from walrus tusks - are due to be returned to the museum in London on 7 October. after a three-month loan to Western Isles council. But local councillors in Stornoway are resisting moves to send it back to England. Members of the council's arts and leisure committee are to meet today to discuss keeping the set in "permanent residence".

The chessmen are said to be worth up to pounds 1m each, but are widely regarded as priceless. Since last June they have been on loan to the Western Isles Museum in Stornoway. Thepieces, thought to be Norse in origin, were discovered at Uig in 1831 by a farmer.